A Travellerspoint blog

2015 - A bit Beyond Angkor & Saem Siem Reap Hotel

Today I go a little farther afield than Angkor Wat, to visit two less visited & so less crowded temples ..

On the way ...

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Banteay Srey Temple is first on the list ...

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A very pretty place, with a scattering of tourists ..

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It's a bit hot out & even the kids can't be bothered with the tourists .. they have spotted something more interesting .. hopefully not a unexploded bomb ..

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.. But perhaps the kids had found one of these ...

... or these ...

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On the way to the next complex we pass the Land mine Museum & we backtrack a little so I can pay it a visit ..

A grim reminder of the millions of land mines still sitting, waiting to blow bits off some curious child.

In that context I felt absolutely safe during my time in Cambodia & would not hesitate to recommend a visit there to anyone.

But it is also a reminder to tourists that if a guide says 'Don't walk there', then don't walk there.

My contribution will not make a dent in clearing the mines but every little bit helps ..

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We stop to buy some of whatever this girl was selling. Something sweet wrapped in leaves.

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A quick stop at another small, out of the way Temple - Prae Roup

Almost a photo of my guide. He was a bit camera shy..

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And it's back to the Seam Siem Reap hotel for a little relaxation.

The pool ..

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Bananas beside the pool ..

The pool from the opposite end. It was well used after the tours got back. Hotel living is not as good as a cruise though. Hotel guests come & go much quicker than passengers.

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Everything about the hotel was very good. From the welcome to the goodbye. Saren here even came for the ride to the airport with me.

Apart from her hotel work, Saren studies at university & volunteers at a local clean-water project. A very busy young lady.

I spent several days just hanging around the pool, popping into Siem Reap for lunch or dinner around pub street.

Siem Reap I did not find very easy to walk around but Tuk Tuks are plentiful & very cheap so I did get around ok

One evening my Taxi driver / Guide took me to see the Aspara dancers. & I wish I had taken my camera for that.

Another evening I went to the beer garden across the road from the hotel. There are a lot in the area of the hotel & I should have gone to more because this one was excellent. The staff literally fell over themselves to serve me the three bottle of beer I had. It was hardly for the two dollar tip on top of the three dollars for the beer.

Strangely, I could not get anyone in Siem Reap to give me a hair cut. I asked at several shops without success.

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Here is another of the staff all of whom were cheerful, extremely helpful & charming to be around. I don't know what I was thinking not getting photos of the rest of the staff. There were lots of them.

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Hard to see but this is a tree frog ..

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Anyway - time to move on .. & heading off to Yangon, but I have already written about that so I will skip ahead to Luang Prabang in Laos with my next entry.

That was my second visit to Cambodia but probably not my last ..

Posted by hasbeen 17:56 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom

My taxi drive come guide picks me up early & we are off to see the two classics around here - Angkor Thom & Angkor Wat

Maybe like me you understood that there was just Angkor Wat. Well there is but lots more beside, the area is covered by temples and the area is huge.

An Elephant ride would have been a good way to go ...

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First up is Angkor Thom ...

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It would take a couple of lifetimes to have a close look at all the reliefs around these places ...

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Most of he doorways have a small step up & then down - the guide practically lifted me through the openings. It's hard work all this.

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People in costume here asking a dollar or two to have a picture taken with them. Must be making a pretty penny.

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This place goes on for ever ..

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At the Elephant Terrace. The guide had me wait around here while he went to find the car so I got a drink & the girls tried to sell me shirts & scarves.

They soon got tired of that & I became part of the wallpaper & they chatted, keeping an eye out for a likely customer. Just about every inch of flesh is covered & it is roasting out today so I asked two of them if they were hot in all the clothes they were wearing. Hats, gloves etc.
Of course they said they were but do not want to get any sun on themselves. Do not want to get dark skinned. Want to look like me.

The one with the shirts went away & I carried on chatting to the other one with the scarves. She has two children & one on the way though it's hard to tell she is pregnant with all the clothes she has on. I buy a scarf after all & call the shirt girl over buy a nice white one from her.

I keep the shirt & the scarf goes to the driver for his wife.

Nice girls, not pushy, trying to make a living.

I got a nice wave from them as I drove away.

Another girl, another time, told me she should go not the skin whitener business. She reckons 80% of SE asian girls use whitener.

Here's the Elephants - I got a bit distracted ..

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We came a little close to these on the scooter.. three on there I think, a little one in the middle ..

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A quick stop to see the monkeys on the side of the road ..

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I do believe we are now at Angkor Wat ..

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The guide did a good job of getting me nice camera angles. This is a classic with the five towers reflected in the moat ..

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Much too much to take in really & extremely hot which might explain why there are so few tourists here with me & this fella's not getting too much business ..

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Not much of a photo but it does give a bit of an idea as to how large the site is ..

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Some tourists about .. where? ....

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A long day & it is just after noon ... I am very glad I gave myself ten days here so I could take my time visiting this fantastic area.

I bought the ticket that gave me multiple entry & heres a tip for you if you do the same - put the ticket in a clear plastic cover. It gets awful soggy with sweat otherwise ..

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On the way out - I waited for the guide again & just as he came towards me a tourist got run over by a Tuk Tuk. An elderly French tourist had his day ruined ..

Posted by hasbeen 15:42 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - Sunset on Tonle Sap lake near Siem Reap

THIS AFTERNOON MY TAXI DRIVER GUIDE PICKED ME UP & WE ARE GOING FOR A BOAT RIDE OUT TO SEE THE SUN SET OVER THE TONLE SAP RIVER

WE STOP ON THE WAY TO SEE SOME PEOPLE TRAINING TO BE TRAINERS IN CRAFTS & SUCH LIKE ..

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AVOIDING BULLOCKS ON THE ROAD WE ARRIVE AT THE DOCK. IT IS MILLING WITH PEOPLE BUT THE GUIDE GETS ME ON BOARD A BOAT WITH MINIMUM FUSS & OFF WE GO -- JUST THE THREE OF US ABOARD ..

LOOKING BACK TO THE DOCK ...

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LOOKING FORWARD - ONE WOULD NOT WANT TO BE IN THE RIVER BUT THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE IN THERE. FISHING MAINLY.

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SOME OF THE BOATS ARE QUITE FAST, SENDING UP SPRAY & MAKING WAVES ..

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THERE IS A BIG SIGN SAYING MIND YOUR HEAD & THIS FELLA SAYS MIND YOUR HEAD - YOU WOULD THNK THAT WERE ENOUGH WARNING. NEVER MIND - IT DID NOT HURT THAT MUCH

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WE GET OFF THE BOAT AND BOARD WHAT I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE AS A FLOATING VIEWING PLATFORM. LOWER DECK HAS THESE ..

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DELIVERY SERVICE ---

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UPPER DECK FOR THE SUNSET VIEW ..

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DANCING GIRLS - OR GIRL ANYWAY ..

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AND IT GETS TOO DARK FOR PHOTOS SO WE BOAT BACK TO THE DOCK & HOME TO THE HOTEL.

DRIVING AT NIGHT IN CAMBODIA IS 'INTERESTING'.

Posted by hasbeen 17:40 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - GETTING TO SIEM REAP & THE JUNGLE TEMPLE

OFF THE PANDAW BOAT NOW & THE LONG BUS RIDE TO SIEM REAP. IN THE WET SEASON, THIS MIGHT BE POSSIBLE BY BOAT BUT NO SUCH LUCK IN THE DRY SEASON ..

THIS IS WHAT I SAW ALONG THE WAY ..

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A GAS STOP & -- ANYONE FOR CRICKET?

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ANOTHER STOP - THOSE PLASTIC BAGS FILLED WITH WATER ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BUG SCARERS. THEY SEE THEIR REFLECTION IN THE WATER & ARE SCARED AWAY. BELIEVE IT OR NOT ..

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A POPULAR RESTAURANT OVERLOOKING A STRETCH OF WATER - SOME TABLES HAVE HAMMOCKS STRUNG UP NEARBY ..

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THAT IS A TRACTOR, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS A JAPANESE BUFFALO. NOT USUALLY A PEOPLE CARRIER ...

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THAT IS A PEOPLE CARRIER THOUGH ..

WHEN I ARRIVED AT SIEM REAP I EXPECTED TO CATCH A RIDE TO THE SAEM SIEM REAP HOTEL WITH ANOTHER PASSENGER BUT EVERYONE DISAPPEARED ON ME. I SPOTTED A YOUNG FELLA WITH A SHIRT THAT MADE HIM APPEAR TO ME A CREW MEMBER OF THE JAHAN BOAT THAT HAD BEEN DOGGING US FOR DAYS ON THE RIVER. I ASKED HIM WHERE I COULD GET A TAXI & SURPRISE, HE IS A TAXI DRIVER & HE WHISKED ME OFF TO THE HOTEL.

AND HERE IS THE POOL, LOOKING VERY WELCOMING.

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I HAVE TEN DAYS IN THIS HOTEL & WANTED SOME TIME TO JUST SIT AROUND AND NOT DO TOO MUCH FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE VENTURING OUT TO THE ANGKOR WAT COMPLEX. AND THEN GO BACK THERE EVERY OTHER DAY OR SO.

A VERY GOOD STRATEGY AS IT TURNED OUT.

I ARRANGED WITH THE TAXI DRIVER TO PICK ME UP TO GO TO THE FIRST OF THE TEMPLES ON MY LIST. THE JUNGLE TEMPLE - BUT WE WENT HERE ON THE WAY .. THE LADY TEMPLE, BUT I MIGHT BE WRONG ABOUT THAT ..

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NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE. THE TAXI DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE HIS GUIDE LICENCE YET BUT HE IS A PRETTY GOOD GUIDE .. POINTED OUT THE BEE HIVE ABOVE ...

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APSARA DANCERS PERHAPS --

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AND NOW WE ARE AT THE TA PROHM OR JUNGLE TEMPLE - MADE VERY POPULAR BY FEATURING IN THE TOMB RAIDER MOVIE ..

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ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A PHOTO WITHOUT PEOPLE HERE ..

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ONE OF THE BUILDINGS, AND IT MIGHT BE THE ONE BELOW, HAS A CURIOUS ACOUSTIC FEATURE. WHEN I WAS INSIDE THE SMALL ROOM, THE GUIDE HAD ME TAP MY CHEST & THE NOISE REVERBERATED AROUND THE ROOM ..

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THE GUIDE MADE A POINT OF SQUEEZING ME THROUGH A HOLE TO SHOW ME THIS OVERGROWN FIGURE ALMOST HIDDEN IN A TREEE ..

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A REALLY GREAT COUPLE OF PLACES TO VISIT. I THINK IT COST ME $30 FOR THE HALF DAY - A PRETTY GOOD DEAL FOR AN AIR-CONDITIONED CAR, PRIVATE DRIVER & GUIDE. I MAY HAVE BOUGHT HIM BITE TO EAT TOO BUT THAT WOULD NOT HAVE COST TOO MUCH EITHER.

I ARRANGED FOR HIM TO PICK ME UP AGAIN IN TWO DAYS.

DURING THE DAYS IN BETWEEN THE GIRLS AT THE DESK WERE VERY GOOD AT WHISTLING UP A TUK TUK THAT TOOK ME INTO SIEM REAP FOR A COUPLE OF DOLLARS.

Posted by hasbeen 13:50 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - Mekong river cruise - A visit to Wat Hanchey ...

We have moved up the Mekong a little & are having a bit of trouble finding a mooring. This is the searchlight roaming over the bank ...

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Kim, the on board Massuese with fingers like iron, up early to see what's what.

and the souvenir kids are up early too ...

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Srey Leak up early too but then she had to work at our breakfast ..

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These monks had come on board to give a blessing to those who wanted blessing. I found an envelope full of cash on my way up that hill - it had 'Monks Donations' on the front. I gave it to one of the crew & expect it found it's way to the monks ..

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We assembled at the lily pond before climbing to the Pagoda strewn hill-top ...

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There are the two kids we saw on the river bank - sister taking care of little brother.

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The green bag contains at least one dog, yelping away like crazy ...

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it's a very colourful spot ..

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Many local tourists & the locals all seem to have paper & pens to sell so they can be given to the kids. I did that for two little boys & had them follow me around for the rest of the morning. I made a donation to a monk for him to give a blessing to the boys. They stood very respectfully with palms together while the monk chanted over them.

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We walked back down to the ship & the little girl no longer has her brother. She must have walked his little feet off. It was quite the hike up & down the hill ..

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Back on board & a chance to watch the local fishermen, & fisherwomen, & fisherkids - a couple of fisherfamilies by the looks of it.

Here's the Jahan - we have been following each other around for days ...

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Fisher folk are still looking for a bite but I never did see any fish on the nets ..

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This is a fine mansion on the river & I was told that it does indeed belong to a relative of the mayor or some politician ..

Roger - last orders before we get off tomorrow ..

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A bit of a party with the crew saying goodbye ..

Fireworks - but on the other side of the river, not for us.

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More crew than passengers ..

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The following day now & it is disembarkation day ...

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KIm here - Seems a bit concerned, maybe looking for me, she broke into her wonderful smile when she spotted me & waved me goodbye.

Very sad to get off.

Bye young lady - perhaps we will meet again. Perhaps we will - I might just do this again.

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The lady is the laundress ..

A fine crew & I highly recommend the Pandaw as a way of seeing a bit of Cambodia - or Myanmar. It was a great experience for my first river excursion ...

Now the long bus ride to Siem Reap where I will stay in the Saem Siem Reap hotel for ten days. Stay tuned for photos of the an ANGHOR WAT, which is right next door.

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Posted by hasbeen 15:41 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - Mekong river cruise - Kampong Cham school visit


View 2015 PADMA - MEKONG, ANGOR WATT TO SAIGON on hasbeen's travel map.

EARLY EVENING & THERE IS TO BE A PARTY ON SHORE

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HOSTED BY THE SHIPS COMPANY, TABLES WERE SET UP FOR DRINKS & FOOD & THE VILLAGERS ATTENDED ...

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SOME SAT IT OUT & WATCHED FROM THEIR HOUSES ..

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A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL I THINK, ALTHOUGH I DID NOT FEEL WELL ENOUGH TO GO ASHORE & ALL THOSE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN FROM ON DECK ... QUITE A WAYS AWAY.

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A MISTY START TO THE DAY ..

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KIDS ARE ASSEMBLING TO FOLLOW US AROUND ON OUR VILLAGE WALK ... TRYING TO SELL US SOUVENIRS ..

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WE GO INTO A SILK WEAVING CENTER & THE KIDS WAIT ON THE STREET ..

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I TRY A LOCAL DRINK .. WHITE FUNGUS, Mmm - MY FAVOURITE ..

THE GIRL ON THE LEFT HAD BEEN MY UNOFFICIAL GUIDE FOR A WHILE & NOW WE ARRIVE AT WHERE HERE STUFF IS LAID OUT FOR SALE. SHE WORKS AT ONE OF THE FANCIEST HOTELS AROUND AS A TRAINEE FOR THE PRINCELY SUM OF 30 DOLLARS A MONTH. I BUY THREE NICE SCARFS FROM HER .. & HER SISTER ON THE RIGHT.

THE MASSAGE GIRLS & THE BOOT CLEANING GUY GET THE SCARVES THE SECOND I STEP ON BOARD ..

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NOW WE HEAD OFF TO ANOTHER VILLAGE ...

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A STEEP WALK UP THE RIVER BANK ..

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A STROLL THROUGH THE MONASTERY ..

KIDS KEEPING A LOOK OUT FOR STRAY TOURISTS ..

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INTO THE VILLAGE .. PEOPLE KEEP THEIR LIVESTOCK CLOSE BY ..

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MEN MAKING CART WHEELS ..

KIDS GIVING THEM INSTRUCTIONS ..

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BRIEFLY UP ONTO THE ROAD & A DRINK OF SOMETHING COLD ..

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NOW WE ARE AT THE SCHOOL ..

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PASSENGERS CHATTING TO THE KIDS - NOT TOO MUCH WORK GETTING DONE ..

HERE'S MISS CAMBODIA 2015 .. & HER SISTER. TAKE YOUR PICK OF WHICH IS WHICH ..

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TEACHER TEACHING ..

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AND IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE WE ARE ..

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS HERE, THROWING BUILDING MATERIAL INSTEAD OF USING A HOIST.

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PASSING A SMALL MARKET ..

AND A PAGODA .. OF COURSE

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SHAKIRA'S SISTER?

AND THE STEEP WALK BACK DOWN TO THE BOAT. MAYBE TIME FOR A GAME OF SNOOKER & A COCKTAIL BEFORE DINNER..

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THE END OF YET ANOTHER ENJOYABLE DAY IN CAMBODIA ...

Posted by hasbeen 03:11 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

2015 - Mekong river cruise - Tonle Sap River


View 2015 PADMA - MEKONG, ANGOR WATT TO SAIGON on hasbeen's travel map.

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STILL PARKED IN PHNOM PENH - THOSE PEOPLE ARE ON ANOTHER CRUISE SHIP DOCKED BETWEEN US & SHORE. LUCKILY, I WAS ALREADY ABOARD BUT THOSE PEOPLE WHO WENT TO THE MUSEUM WILL HAVE TO CROSS THAT BOAT TO GET TO OURS. THEY DID NOT GET ANY FREE DRINKS WHILE THEY WERE WAITING & SHOUTED UP TO ME TO SEND SOME OVER..

THEY DID ARRIVE IN TIME FOR THE EVENING SHOW GIVEN BY SOME YOUNGSTERS WHO CAME ON BOARD ..

HERE ARE SOME WARMING UP ..

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HARD TO PHOTOGRAPH BUT YOU CAN SEE THE CLASSIC FINGER MOVEMENTS ..

AND HERE IS THE END OF THE MONKEY DANCE ..

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THE BAMBOO DANCE ..

AND A YOUNG LADY RELAXING BY THE SNOOKER TABLE. YES - WE HAD A SNOOKER TABLE ON DECK.

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NOW WE ARE OFF UP A SIDE RIVER, THE TONLE SAP, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE LAKE OF THE SAME NAME.

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IT WAS NICE TO BE BACK ON THE WATER AFTER THE HEAT & BUSTEL OF THE CITY. A BIT COOLER & THIS RIVER IS MORE LIKE I WAS EXPECTING. NARROW & A BIT OF A JUNGLE FEEL TO THE BANKS. NOT AFRICAN QUEEN JUNGLE BUT NICE ALL THE SAME

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GOOD TO GET UP CLOSE TO THE BANKS & SEE PEOPLE & PLACES.

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THERE'S A NICE LOOKING PLACE. BELONGS TO THE MAYORS UNCLE MAYBE.

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NICE HAPPY PEOPLE ...

ANY IDEA WHAT THE RED STUFF IS? ME NEITHER...

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ROGER! I'LL HAVE ONE OF THOSE, WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE CONCOCTING ..

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SAW THIS A FEW TIMES, WHERE YOUNGSTERS PEDDLED ALONGSIDE US ...

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TIME FOR LUNCH & YOU SHOULD CHECK THE MENU - A MENU WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR ..

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HALFWAY THROUGH LUNCH AND WE CAN STEP OUTSIDE THE DINING ROOM ..

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PEOPLE HAPPY TO SEE US ..

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COWS - NOT SO HAPPY. PERHAPS THEY READ THE MENU ..

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THIS SHOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRAVELING ON OUR BOAT & A LOCAL BOAT - THEY ARE FASTER BUT WAY MORE CROWDED ..

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TIME TO ADD SOME COKE TO MY RUM ..

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THAT WAS A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE DAY .. AND WE HAVE OT GO BACK DOWN THE SAME STRETCH AGAIN TO REJOIN THE MEKONG. PITY IT WILL BE AT NIGHT ..

Posted by hasbeen 17:28 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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